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Citizens Property Insurance may raise its rates

State-run insurance company seeks 11% increase
Posted at 10:31 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 08:00:35-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For those already owning a home in Florida, more and more are facing sticker shock on insurance premiums.

Elizabeth Roach is a bit concerned. For a decade, she paid $800 a year for home insurance. In 2020, her premiums started going up. First, her premium went to $1,000 and then $1,500.

"This year we received our statement and it has gone up to $1,900, which is almost three times as it was two years ago," she said.

The $1,900 rate came from the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Other quotes she got were as high as $6,000 a year.

"It does make us wonder, is there going to be another increase next year? We don't know what to anticipate," she said.

Experts in the Florida market said insurance companies are failing. With less competition, more owners are turning to Citizens. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said the insurance situation is out of control.

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"We're beyond crisis. Crisis was three years ago," he said.

Homeowners insurance rates in Florida are nearly double the national average. On Thursday, Citizens Property Insurance will be part of a hearing looking at a proposed 11% increase for policyholders. If approved, that would go into effect in August.

"It's like a snowball starting on top of the mountain and coming down a full-fledged avalanche," Lee Burke, with Burke, Bogart, and Brownell Insurance, said.

Burke said Citizens insurance is feeling the financial impact.

"Citizens is no longer an option for a lot of people," he said. "Citizens has lost tremendous amounts of money. Citizens has tightened their underwriting standards. There are many, many homes they won't insure."

Burke said owners of older homes are having trouble finding insurance and new homes can find it, but the premiums are expensive.